The Bear

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Pub Date 11 Feb 2020 | Archive Date 11 Feb 2020

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LibraryReads Pick!

Apple Books “Best Books of the Month” selection

Audible “Editors Select” pick

BuzzFeed “Most Anticipated Books of the Year” selection

Buzz Books by Publishers Lunch selection

From National Book Award in Fiction finalist Andrew Krivak comes a gorgeous fable of Earth’s last two human inhabitants, and a girl’s journey home

In an Edenic future, a girl and her father live close to the land in the shadow of a lone mountain. They possess a few remnants of civilization: some books, a pane of glass, a set of flint and steel, a comb. The father teaches the girl how to fish and hunt, the secrets of the seasons and the stars. He is preparing her for an adulthood in harmony with nature, for they are the last of humankind. But when the girl finds herself alone in an unknown landscape, it is a bear that will lead her back home through a vast wilderness that offers the greatest lessons of all, if she can only learn to listen.

A cautionary tale of human fragility, of love and loss, The Bear is a stunning tribute to the beauty of nature’s dominion.

LibraryReads Pick!

Apple Books “Best Books of the Month” selection

Audible “Editors Select” pick

BuzzFeed “Most Anticipated Books of the Year” selection

Buzz Books by Publishers Lunch selection


Advance Praise

Advance Praise for The Bear

“[A] tender apocalyptic fable . . . endowed with such fullness of meaning that you have to assign this short, touching book its own category: the post-apocalypse utopia.” —Wall Street Journal

“Beautiful. . . . A powerful allegory about the struggles and graces of life.” —America Magazine

“A dreamy, poetic novel that imagines a (nearly) humanless Earth as a thing of beauty.” —BuzzFeed

“With artistry and grace . . . Krivak delivers a transcendent journey into a world where all living things—humans, animals, trees—coexist in magical balance, forever telling each other’s unique stories. This beautiful and elegant novel is a gem.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A moving post-apocalyptic fable for grown-ups. . . . Ursula K. Le Guin would approve.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Engagingly different. . . . Unfolds in graceful, luminous prose.” —Library Journal (starred review)

“[Krivak’s] sentences are polished stones of wonder. . . . The elegiac tone reflects what is lost and what will be lost, an enchantment as if Wendell Berry had reimagined Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.” —Booklist

“A lovely, unforgettable experience.” —Foreword Reviews

“In spare and lovely prose, Andrew Krivak folds the deep past and the far future into a remarkable fable about our inheritance as humanity makes a harmonic return to the spirit and animal worlds. This book follows you, like a river under ice.” —Adam Johnson, author of The Orphan Master’s Son and Fortune Smiles

“A tight yet expansive novel in prose so vivid you forget these are words and not the cedar, trout, and stones of a post-Anthropocene Earth. Through the middle of The Bear walks an unnamed girl whose determination to go on living will fill you with awe.” —Salvatore Scibona, author of The End and The Volunteer

“ReadingThe Bear will bring you back to the wonder-filled stories of childhood, the sort that linger, that alter our understanding of the world, that shape who we become. Such is the simple and profound power of Krivak’s unexpectedly hopeful novel. Crafted with as much care and mastery as the finest oaken bow, this is a book that manages to be both timeless and urgent, clear-eyed and tender-hearted, archetypal and unconventional: a bedtime tale told by a prophet. A wonder in itself.” —Josh Weil, author of The New Valley and The Age of Perpetual Light

What Booksellers Are Saying About The Bear

“This timely, emotional fable about the dual powers of nature and human endurance is profound in its simplicity. Like all the best fables, the wisdom of Krivak’s tale lingered long after we finished it.” —Apple Books

“Widely relatable and deeply moving.” —Audible

“This is as close to a perfect novel as I’ve read. . . . Krivak is working with the care and atmosphere of Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams and the dire sentimentality of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, but is tuned to a higher and more eternal frequency. I will treasure The Bear, and am so glad it exists to counterbalance these futile, furious times.” —Robert Martin, Independent Booksellers Consortium Executive Director

The Bear is a beautiful throwback to folk tales and fairy tales, while at the same time paying tribute to the dystopian books of today.” —Miranda Atkins, A Little Bookish

“Beautifully written. . . . [The Bear] is a fable that will move into your heart as well as your mind, and stay there forever.” —Linda Bond, Auntie’s Bookstore

“I could not put down The Bear. Although an easy read, the masterful storytelling of Andrew Krivak challenges readers with ideas of survival and adventure amidst loss. . . . A simply beautiful read.” —Heidi Carter, Bogan Books

“A sparsely told story that leaves you questioning whether we are more than just our memories.” —Sydne Conant, A Room of One’s Own

“What a balm to read a book so lovely that moves at a measured pace in this fast-paced age. . . . This is a book that takes the reader to heart: a story to be savored, a grace to be received.” —Sheryl Cotleur, Copperfield’s Books

“Krivak’s nature writing is simply divine. This lyrical fable has a few white-knuckled moments, but it’s the story’s tender spirituality that kept me up reading through the night.” —Emily Crowe, An Unlikely Story Bookstore & Café

“Tender and lyrical, beautifully descriptive and with just enough suspense to temper the story, The Bear is divine.” —Lee Virden Geurkink, Monkey and Dog Books 

“Ancient in its rhythm and content, Andrew Krivak’s The Bear reads as a folktale from an entirely possible, fast-approaching future. The lives that may very well be lived by the last of us are lyrically and lovingly articulated across these pages.” —Jack Hawthorn, Raven Book Store

“A story anyone can connect with.” —Maggie Henriksen, Carmichael’s Bookstore

The Bear is a beautifully written modern fable. . . . It feels both timeless and very much of our time, as it plays on anxieties about climate change and the end of human civilization.” —Kathleen Keenan, A Novel Spot Bookshop

“Both timeless and of the moment, this moving, elegant fable for adults is the perfect antidote to our fast-paced, anxious lives. . . . A transcendent, luminous book that will stay with you.” —Shane Khosropour, Unabridged Bookstore

“A modern day fable with lessons on how to reconnect with the natural world. . . . Precise and beautiful.” —Robert Lingle, Off the Beaten Path Bookstore

“Read The Bear to be transformed.” —Laura Mills, Brazos Bookstore

“This book is majestic! A beautiful and poignant tribute to nature and the resiliency of the spirit.” —Rachel Oriatti, Anderson’s Bookshop

“Flora and fauna further a companionless young woman’s education in survival in The Bear. I fought tears throughout the girl’s journey: her story is THAT BEAUTIFUL!.” —Kayleen Rohrer, InkLink Books 

“This was such an interesting book. Not very long, but the way the prose felt slow and meaningful pulled me in and made me slow down to read it. . . . When I finished, I felt like I’d had an experience, not just read a book.” —Izzy Stringham, Bookbinders Basalt

“This is humanity at its purest form—a primal love story to our place among the wild things. Stark and beautiful.” —Robin Templin, Watermark Books & Café (Wichita, KS)

“Krivak’s little gem of a book has some of the lushest, loveliest nature writing you’ll ever read, but in addition to that, it has the timeless feel of a fable. . . . I never knew that a tale about humanity’s end days could be so quietly powerful, and leave me with a sense of peace and optimism.” —Erika VanDam, RoscoeBooks

“A stunningly quiet, simple, and perfect book.” —Kay Wosewick, Boswell Book Company

Praise for Andrew Krivak

“Some writers are good at drawing a literary curtain over reality, and then there are writers who raise the veil and lead us to see for the first time. Krivak belongs to the latter.” —National Book Award judges’ citation for The Sojourn

“[Krivak’s] sentences accrue and swell and ultimately break over a reader like water: they are that supple and bracing and shining.” —Leah Hager Cohen

“Incandescent.” —Marlon James

“A writer of rare and powerful elegance.” —Mary Doria Russell

“Destined for great things.” —Richard Russo

“[A] singular talent.” —Jesmyn Ward

“An extraordinarily elegant writer, with a deep awareness of the natural world.” ―New York Times Book Review

“[Krivak] bring[s] out the vast compassion, humanity and love of his rich, fully developed characters.” —Star Tribune

“Krivak’s story and characters are mythic.” —Booklist (starred review)

“Krivak has his own voice, given to lyrical observations on the nature of human existence.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Praise for The Sojourn

• National Book Award Finalist

• Chautauqua Prize Winner

• Dayton Literary Peace Prize Winner

• American Booksellers Association Indie Next List 

• Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection

“A story that celebrates, in its stripped down but resonant fashion, the flow between creation and destruction we all call life.” —Dayton Literary Peace Prize judges’ citation

“A novel of uncommon lyricism and moral ambiguity that balances the spare with the expansive.” —Chautauqua Prize committee citation

“A gripping and harrowing war story that has the feel of a classic.” — “Year’s Top Book Club Picks” citation

“Splendid. . . . A novel for anyone who has a sharp eye and ear for life.” —NPR All Things Considered

“A beautiful tale of persistence and dogged survival.” —Los Angeles Times

“[A] powerful, assured first novel.” —Washington Post

“A classic of war. . . . Beautifully plotted, as rapt and understated as a hymn.” —Plain Dealer

“An undeniably powerful accomplishment.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Unsentimental yet elegant. . . . With ease, [The Sojourn] joins the ranks of other significant works of fiction portraying World War I.” —Library Journal (starred review) 

Advance Praise for The Bear

“[A] tender apocalyptic fable . . . endowed with such fullness of meaning that you have to assign this short, touching book its own category: the post-apocalypse utopia.” —...

Marketing Plan

• Buzz Books by Publishers Lunch featured title

• American Booksellers Association Winter Institute pre-publication author appearance and signing

• American Library Association Annual conference pre-publication author appearance and galley signing

• Book Expo America book club promotion

• Regional independent bookseller fall trade show pre-publication promotion

• Galley giveaways: NetGalley, Edelweiss, Goodreads, and LibraryThing

• Major media campaign

• Online and social media campaigns

• 5-city national tour and regional New England author events

• Buzz Books by Publishers Lunch featured title

• American Booksellers Association Winter Institute pre-publication author appearance and signing

• American Library Association Annual conference...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781942658702
PRICE $17.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 213 members

Featured Reviews

Hauntingly beautiful, written in a poetic style, I highly recommend The Bear. A story between father and daughter, how he teaches her to live and survive, and her way of seeing her world.

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It's something I have always wondered about, living off the land, hunting for food and finding shelter. This book shows how a young girl learns to do that from her father who teaches her so much. They live on a mountain forest that fronts a lake with the world that is left after total devastation. It's a moving story of a journey they make together to the ocean. Soon middle way of the book she meets a bear who helps her find her way back home. Really a touching book you will remember for a long time. I highly recommend it and I will go back and read his other books now!

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A stunning book full of imagery and pain. Krivak gives us a startling view of the future; of being alone and trying to understand a world that no longer exists.

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In the midst of dystopian largesse, Andrew Krivak delivers a refreshing, folksy, and touching story of a post-industrial world. Not without tragedy, The Bear tells the uplifting tale of a young woman as she learns to live at one with nature in a wild new world generations after the collapse of human civilization. Beginning with her father, our young protagonist is ushered into adulthood by a series of mentors who teach her not only practical survival skills but important lessons about nature’s reciprocity and humanity’s place in the circle of life. The Bear isn’t about human devastation, it is about human resilience and interconnectedness. A simple story written with an unflinching but compassionate voice, Krivak’s tale should be thoughtfully savored while it slowly winds its way into your moral conscience.

(Thank you to Netgalley for providing me an advance copy to review.)

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A lyrical fable for fans of soft apocalypse. The world as we know it ended long ago, and there are only two people left: a young girl and her father. They live a peaceful life together in a forest cabin, telling stories, hunting for food, and crafting tools. The man leads the girl on a long journey by foot to the ocean to gather salt when he is bitten by a poisonous animal. When he succumbs to the poison, a bear appears and speaks to the girl. Can the last human on Earth survive alone?

Lovers of language take note: the act of reading this book is truly an experience. The slow pace of the plot forces you to savor every word, and I found myself wanting to read sentences aloud for the full affect.

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In a distant future, a man and his daughter may be the last surviving humans on Earth.

Together, they spend their days hunting and fishing, a father passing on his wisdom to his daughter. The secrets of the seasons, the oceans, the stars. The lessons of a long ago civilization, ancient stories and myths of hunters honoring their prey and animals coming to the aid humanity. The father knows he won’t live forever and he wants to prepare his daughter for life without him, in harmony with the world around her.

The first half of Andrew Krivak’s short novel, The Bear reads like a gentler version of Cormack McCarthy’s The Road, mixed with the reality TV series Survivorman. And it’s heartbreaking. In the first chapter, the father’s answer to his daughter’s question of why she has no mother had me nearly sobbing, reading in the mall’s food court on my lunch break.

But halfway through the book, everything changes. Hopefully it won’t spoil too much to say that the father dies. He and his daughter have taken a journey to collect salt from the ocean, and now she must find her way home, heartsick and alone. The tone of the tale switches. It is no longer a compassionate story of survival. Now magic enters the world and the daughter’s realistic story turns fable. To aid the daughter back to her home, nature becomes personified, continuing the father’s lessons in a way that may be a distraught girl’s fantasy, a mystical reality, a pure allegory, or some combination of all three.

It has been nearly two months since I finished The Bear and I’m still ruminating on its melancholy yet somehow hopeful ode to the beauty the natural world has to offer.

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